To Friends Of
Cave Creek Canyon

The GHO's Entertaining Portal

Story And Images By Debb Johnson   
There's a pair of great horned owls that have been a fixture in downtown Portal. For over 16 years they nested in a hollow limb on a huge sycamore tree overhanging Rock House Road just beyond the Library.  Last year the community was deeply saddened when the dead top of the tree broke off and fell to the ground, taking the nest limb with it.  Both eggs were destroyed just a few weeks before they would have hatched. 


The nearby neighbors kept an eye on the adult pair through the summer and were delighted to hear them dueting in mid December, indicating they would most likely be choosing a new nest location.  We watched and listened, but it wasn't until mid March when their highly unlikely nesting spot was discovered in a hollow broken limb on a big sycamore tree just 10 feet off the ground between the cafe and the clinic.
This location provided amazing observation and photographic opportunities for birders and non-birders alike.  Birders from all over the world and neighbors kept a watchful eye on our avian friends and when one of the nestlings was accidentally knocked out of the nest one evening, Helen Snyder fixed up a makeshift nest box for the owlet to be safe until morning. 


The next day, it was well fed and content as we tied a basket in a juniper tree under it's
mother's watchful eye and relocated the owlet.

Over the next several weeks the attentive parents made sure both nestlings were well fed as dozens of birders got a first hand view of food exchanges between the parents and feeding of the young.  The owlets developed their feathers and stretched their wings in anticipation of their first flights.  The basket owlet had an advantage of many branches to climb around on as it moved out of the nest and developed coordination while the older nestling was limited in it's movements because of the nest location and no close branches nearby.  The youngsters fledged on a Friday evening in late May, never to return to their nests.

The fledglings wings and tail feathers are fully developed and in flight, they are as big as their parents, but their trademark "ear tufts" are not yet developed, so when perched their fluffy heads look small on their large bodies.

Now it is mid-summer and the birders are pretty much gone, but the fledglings and their devoted parents are active up and down the creek, food begging in the early evenings as they learn and hone their own hunting skills.  They will be dependent on their parents until mid to late fall.


                          Adult Female                                                     Adult Male

In a few more months, they will be catching their own dinner and will eventually be driven from their parent's territory, where they will hopefully find mates and establish their own nesting and hunting grounds.  Come December we'll begin to hear the dueting of the mature pair as they prepare for another nesting season.  Whether they chose the same nest spot is yet to be seen, but we'll all be watching.

[Editor: thank you Debb and Mother Nature]
[The Visitor Information Center

     Volunteer Steve Wolfe:     I was working here at the Cave Creek Canyon Visitor Info Center this morning when a friend called and said "check out the popcorn clouds to the west!" Well, glory be -- nice, billowy monsoonal clouds! And my friend said the lower parts looked dark and gray. So at about 1:30 it rained pretty hard here at the "VIC" for about a half hour, then that was it. Alas, at my house about 3 miles away -- nothing. Though there was a severe thunderstorm warning issued for the Douglas area going up north on the east side of the Chiricahuas.  

     Bridled Titmouse enjoying the sprinkler          Young male Blue-throated Hummer in the rain
Bears & Other Critters
On South Fork Rd. Cecil Williams saw a mama bear and two cubs.  A few days later she saw another mama and two cubs that looked very different.  She was close to the second family.  The mama and one cub scampered up the hill.  The other cub quickly climbed the tree, with Cecil taking its picture.  Realizing the bears were between her and the car, Cecil scampered to the car.
The large bear image was taken by Linda Castor 1/4 mile from  the "VIC".  We wonder what the large bare spot came from.  Helen Snyder suggested fire or mange.

     Tarantula by Tim Lawson                                 There are 5 skunks here. The protective family                                                                               tangle stop by every day at about 5:30 pm for                                                                                   pictures, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with Cecil                                                                               Williams.

Fred Espenak
Portal's Arizona Sky Village
Below is a single 5 minute exposure using a Takahashi Epsilon 180 astrograph. The subject is the North American Nebula (NGC7000) and the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070). These objects glow in the red light of Hydrogen Alpha and are a favorites in summer sky.

Some readers may not be aware of Portal's Fred Espenak [aka Mr. Eclipse] involvement with the new postal Eclipse stamp.   The back of the stamp pane provides a map of the August 21 eclipse path and times it may appear in some locations. The stamp image is a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak  that shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006.

In the first U.S. stamp application of  thermochromic ink, the Total Eclipse
of the Sun Forever stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.
                    GOOD MORNING PORTAL        [Steve Wolfe]

             GOOD NIGHT PORTAL      [Tim Lawson]

Stories of the Past
 Some Paradise Personalities

The Chiricahua Bullsheet, an entertaining and highly opinionated newsletter and journal of local history written by Carson Morrow
Courtesy of Dick Zweifel
Charles M. Randolph was born and grew up at Roswell New Mexico. His uncle A. T. Prather was in the mercantile and hotel business at Rodeo for a good many years; Being the builder and one time owner of the building which now houses the Rodeo Post Office also the Gypsum Block store building presently owned by Buford Martin. Charley came to Paradise in 1903 and went in partners with W. K. Morrow in the Saloon Business. 

There is an old road sign now in the John Hands Museum at Portal which advertised their business among others. They remained partners for only a short time when he bought Morrow's interest (More about the Morrow tribe later). Charley was a tall extremely thin man and wore a big handle bar mustache in keeping with the times. He was kindly, Gentlemanly, and universally liked. He suffered most of the time with some sort of stomach trouble, probably cancer, and died in 1906, while still in his thirties. he was the second person buried in the Paradise Cemetery. 

Patrick Welch was a little old fat Irishman who came to Paradise from the Old Country Via. God knows where. He was always well dressed and mannerly and just about as wide as he was high. His Saloon Building was one of the last of the business structures to be torn down and moved away. 

After the mine shut down and the town started going to pieces, Pat became his own best and just about only customer. Some time before his liquor stock was entirely depleted and the Pink Elephants, Green Lizards etc. got to chasing him and he was committed to the Insane asylum at Phoenix. He probably died there as nothing has been heard of him since. 

Alejo Bedoya owned and operated the Mexican Saloon. It was located on the road leading up to the Chiricahua Mine just West of the main drag. He had a family of two daughters and one son, Frances, Minnie and Alejo Jr. His wife had died some time before he moved to Paradise from Solomonville, Arizona, she was a sister to old Mart Moore's wife, Maria. 

Frances was a big fat girl and Minnie was as cute as a speckled pup. Several of the young blades of about Walter Reeds vintage used to squire her around when they got the chance. Alejo Jr. was almost a genius at arithmetic and often did Carson Morrow and other's lessons for them just for fun. 

When the crash came old Alejo moved back to Solomonville where he finally cashed in; The girls both married Syrians who used to run fruit and vegetable stands in Douglas, and later moved out to California. They visited the writer at Border patrol headquarters in Tucson about ten years ago and they were both so big and fat that they could hardly get in through the wide door. 

Alejo Jr. died of acute alcoholism at Solomonville before he was thirty years of age. He had acquired the habit while he was still going to school at Paradise from snitching liquor out of his old man's saloon. 

FOCCC 2017 Officers and Board

Reed Peters         President                                            Other Board Members  
Sheri Ashley        Vice President                             Bob Ashley        Wynne Brown  
Mike Williams      Vice President 
                           Alan Craig          Rene Donaldson
Rick Beno 
Rolf Koford            Kim Vacariu
Stevie Wayman    Secretary
   Cecil Williams                                                        




Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon
PO Box 16126
Portal, Arizona 85632


Visit Our Website 

Thanks to our "Sustainer's Circle" members 
for their generous support:  
Tom Arny, Bob and Bettina Arrigoni, Nancy and Thomas Denney, Mary George, Renata Golden, Bill and Sally Hague, Paul Hirt and Linda Jakse, Don Hollister, Ken Jenkins, Leuthold Family Foundation,  Barbara Lounsbery,  Patrick McNamara, John and Karin McQuillan, Barbara and Pete Miller, Patricia Parran, CeCe Raak, Tom Roseman and Paula Baldwin, Delia Scholes, Donald and Martha Squire and Bob and Sherry Zoellick.

Please support our Business Members  who  have given generously to Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon.  Without their assistance, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goals. Click on their names to check out their websites.    
                     Birders B & B
                 Cave Creek Ranch                           Chiricahua Desert Museum
             Naturalist Journeys, LLC                                   Orchid Davis   
                 Sky Island Rolfing                                           Wynne Brown 
                  Chiricahua Gallery               Everett Jones Realestate (Helen Snyder)
            Pi Irwin & Zsombor Zoltan                            Ed Newbold Wildlife Artist
                     Quailway Cottage                                    Sky Island Lodge
                   Rodeo Tavern                                     The George Walker House                                 Painted Pony Resort                             Portal Peak Store and Lodge
Business Memberships start at just $50.00!